Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Surgically Implanted Bombs in Terrorists

Reuters reported via The New York Times:

Militants are showing renewed interest in using a bomb surgically implanted inside a passenger's body to blow up a commercial flight, though there is no indication an attack is imminent, a U.S. security official said on Wednesday.
It takes four to six weeks to recover muscle strength after surgery.  Should a terrorist want to look like a normal passenger, while hiding a body bomb, a recovery period is necessary. 

Terrorists would need the means to build a sterile bomb, keep it clean and implant it in the body in an operating room.  Corporations and governments have these capabilities, much more so rag tag groups.  Planting an unsterile bomb inside the body would likely result in infection or sepsis.

"The Department of Homeland Security has identified a potential threat from terrorists who may be considering surgically implanting explosives or explosive components in humans to conduct terrorist attacks," the advisory to foreign counterparts said, according to the U.S. security official.

Such a threat is likely to come from overseas rather than domestically, but precautions were being taken on both sides, the official said on condition of anonymity.
Homeland Security is prepared for this "potential", "may be" threat

Transportation Security Administration spokesman Nicholas Kimball said passengers flying into the United States may notice enhanced security measures, including talks with them as well as pat-downs and "enhanced tools and technologies." 
Do those include making 95 year olds remove their wound dressings?  Maybe a little wound probing with a sharp pencil?  Might that be avoided with a pre-flight MRI or CT scan?  Should passengers carry the images and a doctor's note?  Would that help post surgical patients safely run the TSA gauntlet?  Maybe the best thing is to not fly at all.

Update 7-11-11:  UK Telegraph reported on the successful detonation of a body bomb in October 2009.   Why did this become a big story in summer 2011?